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More work by Mary McCarthy
  1. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Restless in my own skin
    I am a house piled high
    with old books, boxes, collections
    of brittle pages and broken plates
    stories hoarded
    like stones in my pockets
    keeping me down, keeping me
    pinned to all my worst decisions,
    rash acts and odd embarrassments.

    I want it all
    dragged out and dusted off
    set up for a yard sale
    of unwanted curiosities
    not sealed in some
    temple of memories
    like obscene bodies
    rotting behind clean marble walls
    waiting visitation by any still
    willing to imagine them

    I want to let it all go
    for nothing.
    Now I’m ready
    to be clean and empty,
    just beginning,
    open as the new moon.
     
  2. Me too.  Love this, Mary.
     
  3. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Thank you Cheryl. It was just rejected, with comments that it had a "compelling core" but needed a lot of tightening. I was happy to get something more than a stock rejection, worked on revising, but not sure where to go from here--have pared it down some already. Does it need more??
     
  4. Tom Riordan

    Tom Riordan member Supporter

    This great, Mary -
    Not sure that what comes before -
    is either precise or fresh enough for it.
    Also distracted by the off-again, on-again comma use.

    Here - why not simplify
    to "I want the whole chain of curiosities/set up for a yard sale/of obscene bodies...."?
    And cut
    to "I want to let it all go/for nothing"?
    Love this, Mary, all my suggestions notwithstanding! Tom
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  5. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tom. I can't excuse my commas. Edited using some of your suggestions, especially liked "for nothing" instead of "keeping nothing" Glad you liked it.
     
    Tom Riordan likes this.
  6. Jordan Trethewey

    Jordan Trethewey Fly on the wall

    Hey Mary,
    S1 and S2 seem to tell the tale without the burden of S2 (or might that be the point?). I would find a way to keep the 'obscene bodies' line, but drop the rest of S2.
    Or don't.
    Jordan
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  7. maggie flanagan-wilkie

    maggie flanagan-wilkie Well-Known Member Supporter Editor

    Mary, I like your opening. Suggested edits cut the repetitive weight out of the draft. Nice bones. Maggie

    I am restless
    in a house piled high
    with old books and boxes—
    collections of brittle pages
    and broken plates.

    like stones in my pockets
    these hoarded stories
    are keeping me down,
    keeping me pinned to all
    my worst decisions, rash acts
    and odd embarrassments.

    I want them all dragged out—
    dusted off, for a yard sale:
    unwanted curiosities: free
    for the taking.

    I’m ready to be as open
    as a new moon.
     
    David Belcher and Mary McCarthy like this.
  8. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the suggestions. Got rid of the "I want to get rid of" line. Still need the bodies sealed behind the marble---referencing the dead immured in mausoleums that seem to deny the inevitable decay of the flesh, and refuse the natural dissolution into the earth. my thinking is this is like the reification of the past in memory, holding onto it in a sort of ritualistic and obsessive way, that ends up trapping you there.
     
  9. Lance Rocks

    Lance Rocks Never Force Supporter Editor

    Mary, this is the best of yours I've read.

    S2 L11-13 go beyond what is required, IMHO. The two lines above clearly delineate the scene. Adding detail diminishes the impact of the already clearly delineated scene, IMHO. Consider allowing reader to invent details of the scene in her own mind.

    Good to see you, I like this a lot !

    :   =   )
     
  10. Very happy to see this featured.  I agree it should be!
     
    Lance Rocks and Mary McCarthy like this.
  11. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Thank you Lance. And you are right about those lines. They're gone. And thanks for the encouragement--I needed that today.
    Oh my, thanks for the feature. This makes my day!!
     
    silent lotus and Lance Rocks like this.
  12. Anna Ruiz

    Anna Ruiz I have the same religion as that tree over there. Supporter

    Your poem reminded me of Ryokan:

    The thief left it behind:
    the moon

    at my window

    ~~~

    The beginner's mind and heart is always a good place to start.
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  13. Lance Rocks

    Lance Rocks Never Force Supporter Editor

    Mary, the poets with rods up their butts will object to the final moon image. It happens to be completely on point in your use...congratulations.

    Lance
     
    Mary McCarthy and silent lotus like this.
  14. silent lotus

    silent lotus _-_== Loiterer ==_-_ Supporter

    Mary

    i'm a fan of this one

       reminds me of the pleasure of you and i being published not so long ago in the Origami Poems Project anthology
    The Best Of Kindness

    a warm smile
    silent lotus

    `
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  15. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    thanks Lance. I tend to ignore nit pickers. Always a way to use old things in a new way. And thanks for the Feature!
     
  16. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Silent. Yes, that was nice. I'm amazed that writing about joy and happiness can go so well. For a long time I was all about pain, all that dark stuff. This is new to me.
     
  17. maggie flanagan-wilkie

    maggie flanagan-wilkie Well-Known Member Supporter Editor

    Just read these notes from you, Mary.

    "compelling core..." but needed a lot of tightening.

    I had some time this morning to do a close read of your poem.

    I get you like the "...bodies sealed behind marble", but it's a distraction, taking the reader away from what's causing the narrator's pain.

    Tightening means getting rid of images and telling which obscure what N is saying; rearranging language so that what N is describing all the way through the poem relates in some way to the whole.

    The draft has one voice, N's. So, when revising to tighten, you start with where N's voice is strongest: the first stanza. It's well written and tells us N is looking to move on, unencumbered, but aware of the past.

    One other thing: the # of times a poet uses "I" needs to be looked at in a revision: you used 5, now there's 2.

    This is N pissed off at N, not at other people:

    not sealed in some
    temple of memories
    like obscene bodies
    rotting behind clean marble walls
    waiting visitation by any still
    willing to imagine them


    Here's another look at the draft:


    Restless in a house piled high
    with old books and boxes—
    collections of brittle pages
    and broken plates—
    hoarded stories,
    like stones in my pockets,
    are keeping me down,
    keeping me pinned
    to bad decisions, rash acts,
    odd embarrassments.

    I want them all dragged out,
    dusted off for a yard sale—
    unwanted curiosities free
    for the taking by anyone with
    courage to move forward with me
    despite the scars from our conjoined
    pasts.

    An unwritten dawn will follow
    this new moon, and I am ready.

    Maggie
     
    Mary McCarthy and David Belcher like this.
  18. David Belcher

    David Belcher Don't forget to be Awesome Supporter

    Lively details in this one Mary, they carry the emotion across to the reader. I liked Maggie's version.
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  19. Tim J Brennan

    Tim J Brennan Well-Known Member

    Wonderful themes for each S.  Beautifully done.
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  20. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much Tim!
     
  21. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Maggie, thanks so much for the time You've given to this!! It is truly appreciated. When you said This is N pissed at N" you were right. The argument is with the self, deciding not to keep all those bad memories preserved inside, to let them go so she can move on. Others who might be interested in these remains can have them-- but the N is not inviting them to join her, and doesn't share a conjoined past with them. This is pretty much a solitary journey.
     
  22. Jenn Zed

    Jenn Zed Solid State Gynoid Supporter Editor

    Yep, very nice, Mary .. the form and word use is just as clean as you want things to be.
    No extra weight or baggage here.

    I know exactly how to feel and if I could get past my natural apathy I might do something about it .. lol.


    Love it.
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  23. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Thanks Jenn. I think you and I are simpatico!
     
    Jenn Zed likes this.
  24. maggie flanagan-wilkie

    maggie flanagan-wilkie Well-Known Member Supporter Editor

    conjoined ties to these words, Mary: by any still willing to imagine them. The words imply a connection.

    I look forward to reading your revision.

    Have a great day.

    Maggie
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  25. Dax

    Dax Most Unwanted Member

    Thank you, Mary
    I love you, marry me!
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  26. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    Well thanks Dax, but I'm an old married lady, and if I left my husband he would never find any of his things!! Chaos!!!
     
    Heather Adams and Dax like this.
  27. TrishSaunders

    TrishSaunders Member Supporter Editor

    Hi Mary, I know you've had many suggestions here....could you possibly stand one more?
    I wonder what would happen if you started here:   Enjoyed this!


    I am a house piled high...
     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  28. Dax

    Dax Most Unwanted Member


    Ode to a dear old lady​

    I love them that care, and you do.​
    I love the smell of breakfast coffee.​
    I never had a home to go to at night.​
    I just might like someone to say—​
    Happy Birthday—one day, that's all. ​

    Tomas​


    .

     
    Mary McCarthy likes this.
  29. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

     
  30. Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy Well-Known Member

    I still want that restless in my skin idea but see if above adjustment works....i think it is clearer.
     

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